I’m currently furthering my education and working toward my Master’s degree, so it’s pretty safe to say I’ve learned a lot being in enrolled in college for the last few years.
Not everyone’s experience in college will be the same, but here’s a couple thing’s I’ve learned so far:
- You need to sleep. Even if it is for 45 minutes, sleep is absolutely necessary. I am not saying that you will never pull an all-nighter, [I am guilty of that myself] – what I am saying that 2 or 3 all-nighters in a row is insane. Nobody likes a walking zombie! You do your best work when your mind has a chance to rest and recuperate and get ready for the next day. Whether it is at 3:30AM or 3:30PM, everything will get done.
- Everybody is perfect in their own way. Never ever compare yourself to others. You are smart, you are beautiful, and you are worth it. Your degree is just as good as the next person’s. Everyone is choosing a path that they love. Don’t beat yourself down when you should be building yourself up. No two people are exactly alike, and that is what makes you special!
- Getting your degree is a big deal. Not everybody makes it this far, and not everybody chooses to go to college or grad school, so that in it of itself is something you should be proud of! For the endless of hours I’ve put in thus far, I’ve gotten the amazing payoffs of not-perfect-but-still-freaking-amazing GPA’s. One of the most important things is to know that you have put in your best work and maximum effort at the end of the semester. You get what you give, so give it your all!
- It is better to be one step ahead rather than one step behind. Professors always tell you to keep on track and to make a schedule to ensure that all of your readings, coursework, research, and internship hours get completed in a timely manner to allow some time to breathe. Being one step ahead insures all is done in case something out of the blue comes up, preventing future stress. Showing up to class early is better than showing up late. Submitting assignments early as opposed to 11:59PM on the dot will prove you didn’t rush through it. If your assignment is due on the weekend, try to get it done during the week. This will allow time to unwind.
- It is okay to ask questions. Especially if any of your courses or coursework is completed online. I am not shy when it comes to attending office hours or emailing millions of questions for further clarification. Plus, it helps you to stand out in a group of many other students, while also showing you care! Nothing wrong with making a name for yourself.
- Don’t buy your textbook from your college or university’s bookstore. This is a giant waste of money. I repeat, THIS IS A GIANT WASTE OF MONEY. Buy it used. Rent it. Don’t buy it at all. Do whatever you’ve gotta do. But if you do buy it, please, please, trust me when I say to look online. I have [more times than not] literally saved up to $100 off each book when I purchased it elsewhere. From Amazon to Chegg, there is always a cheaper option. Do it!
- Sometimes you will feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. Things will get overwhelming. It will seem as if nothing will get completed, that 24 hours isn’t enough time in the day, or that you are failing at everything you do. Even though you may succumb to the stress and feel as if you are at the bottom of the barrel, the good news is, that the only place to go from there is up! Assignments will get completed, you will get through the semester, and you will realize it was all worth it in the end!
- Don’t forget to take time to breathe. Even if there are a million things that you have to do during the semester, you can’t forget that me time is important. Whether it’s taking a walk, grabbing a coffee with a friend, or going for a run, focusing on yourself and your mental health should always come first. Even if it’s only 5 minutes stress-free, it will help you feel better at the end of the day.
- You will create and lose friendships during this time in your life. I went to college having a solid group of friends from high school and, to nobody’s surprise, my group of friends is no longer the same! Everyone’s priorities suddenly become different. Everyone is trying to figure out their own lives, and your texts will not always be answered in 0.6 seconds. But while it seems as if your core friendships are dwindling, you will create some pretty kickass friendships in the process. At the end of the day, you will always have a couple solid BFF’s that stick with you through it all. These solid few, you will learn, are more important than the 8,000 acquaintances.
- You are not alone. There are 8 million times that I can think of that I have had to remind myself that I am not the only one out there that can get overwhelmed. There are people out there that have struggles way worse than being tired from having to pull an all-nighter trying to complete your work. It is important, though, to remember to reach out for help if you need someone to talk to. Sometimes talking to your classmates or friends will help you realize that everyone is overwhelmed and that everyone is in the same boat. It helps when you build a system to support each other. You will get through it together.
- You can get just as much work done at home than you will in the library. Just because you don’t spend a countless number of hours in the library doesn’t mean you aren’t as serious about school as the person who does. Not everybody will find success working in the same types of environments. One of my college roommates enjoyed working at cafe’s whereas another couldn’t focus anywhere but the quiet study. Where you complete your assignments does not amount to the type of student that you are. Your best work will be done when you are in an environment that makes you comfortable.
- Don’t stress over the little things. The barista didn’t put enough sugar in your coffee? You have a giant pimple on your chin? You broke the tip of your pencil? So what! Focusing on things that don’t matter will only take time away from focusing on the things that do. Stressing over everything will only create one giant avalanche of stress as opposed to one little snowball.
- Once you get handed your diploma, you will realize everything was worth it. The feeling you get once you’ve gotten that sacred piece of paper and achieved your goal is something that cannot be put into words. Put in the time and effort. Keep on fighting, power through, and get to that light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me, you won’t regret it.